Media Theory

Head: o. Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr.phil. Gabriele Jutz
Research and teaching at the Department of Media Theory engages with a diverse spectrum of media and focuses especially on their act of production, their social and societal effects as well as their capacity and potential to change perception. To this end research centers on a multitude of media theories that were proposed and formulated during the course of the twentieth century and which are still relevant today. Located at the heart of the Institute for Fine Arts and Media Art, the Department’s team of researchers and art practitioners with a distinguished record of academic teaching fully appreciate that interdisciplinary approaches are indispensable for understanding society’s ongoing changes due to the influence of media and new technologies and the value of utilizing artistic endeavors as a critical lens. The Department’s reputation for professional education within the field of art education is based on its rigorous and critical approaches towards the reciprocity and effects of constantly evolving media and the concept of art itself.

Media Theory and Film Studies

As a young academic discipline media theory has not yet developed any consensus as to the defining or scope of its enquiry. Because its field of study is so broad and developments in the media and communication sector so dynamic, it is important that media studies at a university of the arts should define clearly the directions and content of its research and teaching. Professor of Film and Media Theory Gabriele Jutz focuses on both pre-digital and post-digital aspects of artistic uses of media. As the discipline of film studies provides a model for the analysis of audiovisual media, the role of film as a medium is central. The particular focus is on the relations between art and the moving image, from the classical avant-gardes, expanded cinema, film performances and experimental animation to the contemporary neo-analog film avant-garde. This also includes sound studies, a rather neglected area of film and media theory.

To interrogate film and media theory from the standpoint of the post-digital age recognizes the fact that digital technologies have now entered virtually all essential areas of life and have long since lost whatever utopian potential they might once have had. Hence, “post-digital”  signifies reflecting critically on the dominance of the digital in the contemporary constellation of media. In order to understand both historic and contemporary artistic media practice it is vitally necessary to advance innovative approaches of a regenerated history of media and technology, which take account of the current “material turn” by including media archaeological, societal, institutional, economic, and social aspects.

Media Theory and Theory of “Biomedia”

Until very recently technical media were the focal point of media theory investigations, but now technological advance has developed a number of innovations that some thinkers are terming “biomedia”. Professor of Media Theory Ingeborg Reichle studies the interaction between media theory and the new theories of “biomedia”, as well as the relationship between contemporary art and the production of “nature” within the realm of the technosciences (biotechnology and synthetic biology). In recent years media theory has concentrated mainly on technological media and human–machine interactions, but a vast number of recent innovations makes it necessary to include also biological media, because in the expanding sphere of biotechnology, biology becomes technology. DNA codes and computer codes are increasingly merging, opening up new possible constellations for designing the biological sphere, which are already making their way into our society and the arts as biological and technical constellations of media technologies. The changes to societal and cultural processes that accompany these developments are examined and analyzed from an interdisciplinary perspective in the Department’s courses and research. Specific contemporary artistic approaches (e.g., bioart, transgenic art) are explored as well as the current societal and economic processes involved, taking artistic modes of production as well as the respective scientific discourses into account in order to develop a critical understanding of the role of media and the arts in the twenty-first century.

Vordere Zollamtsstraße 7
A-1030 Wien
Regina Koroschetz
Tel: +43-1-71133-3551